Effect of malocclusion on adults seeking orthodontic treatment

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Abstract

Introduction:

Our objective was to examine the Teen Oral Health-related Quality of Life (TOQOL) questionnaire for use in adults receiving orthodontic treatment and assess validity and reliability by age group.

Methods:

Teenagers from 10 to 18 years and adults 18 and over completed surveys at the orthodontic clinic at Boston University. The survey consisted of sociodemographic information, dental behavior questions, and the TOQOL instrument. Malocclusion severity was assessed using the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need.

Results:

Overall, 161 teens and 146 adults participated. The mean ages were 13 years for the teens and 32 years for the adults. Subjects were represented by both sexes and diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. In general, scores overall and by domains were higher for adults than for teens, signifying a greater effect of the malocclusion on the quality of life. Mean TOQOL scores as well as emotional and social domain scores (P <0.001) were worse (17.6) in adults than in teens (11.9; P <0.01). Construct validity was supported by strong a association of TOQOL scores with self-reported oral health. The Cronbach alpha was higher in adults overall and for all domains (0.75 in adults compared with 0.68 in teens).

Conclusions:

Adults who come for orthodontic treatment appear to be more affected by their malocclusion than are teens. The total TOQOL score and the emotional and social domains were significantly higher for adults. The total TOQOL score and the emotional and social domains were significantly higher (worse) for adults than teens. This project suggested that TOQOL may be a useful way to measure the impact of malocclusion on the quality of life in both adults and teens.

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